Is Today's Word 'Fluffenutter' or Not?

photo: kathleen, dana, jan, ed

The camera's self-timer accidently takes
today's group photo.

News from the 'Café Metropole Club'

Paris:- Thursday, 2. December 1999:- What happened during today's club meeting of charter members will come back to me in a minute. To avoid any dead air here, I'll just fill you in on today's weather in Paris.

From the time I went out this morning at 8:15, the weather has been 'normal' for early December in Paris and nowhere near as rosy as predicted by last night's TV-weather news broadcast.

If any club members write to me to ask what the weather will be like on Thursday, 23. March 2000, it will be more or less 'normal' for that day, neither less nor more.

On account of what I did this morning, I am wearing an uncustomary tie and one of my two 'sporty' jackets. The lesser of the two - but since nobody has seen the other one, how can you tell?

No matter. The Café Metropole Club is not formal. I shouldn't even be wearing a tie. It is not a great tiephoto: the bag anyway. It is meant to look like a cheap, fake-wool, knitted tie; which it is. It is a broken-down hack journalist's tie.

Before I even get into the café La Corona I meet charter club member Jan Shaw on the street outside. We are both about two minutes early for the meeting; setting a bad precedent. Inside, all hands are shaken, once.

Jan's nifty bag; not showing all its pockets and zippers.

In the back of the 'grande salle' we toss the tables and chairs around until they are in perfect disorder. At the risk of repeating myself; at 15:00 we are correctly installed in the 'club's' area in the 'grande salle' of the café La Corona.

I take out the charter members' booklet and the 'club' reports booklet and the 'club's' new official pen and write in today's date. On Tuesday, I traded the club's old 'official pen' with the shampoo nifty at the barbershop for a slim one.

When Dana Shaw comes in a couple of minutes later, he and Jan tell me about marshmallow fluff, which they have spotted in Paris.

As I am trying to digest this concept, they add the part about making it into a sandwich with peanut butter. The very idea leaves me speechless, and Dana cleverly uses this split-second in time to ask me if Paris' beggars still have to get licenses.

They tell me new beggars replace old beggars once every three or four métro stations. The Shaws are riding the métro much more often than I am; but when I ride it beggars are like other passengers so I don't count them.

Besides, I usually give something to a beggar on the way to my métro station, so I am sort of coveredphoto: kathleen for the rest of the day. Quite often I am sorry about this when an original beggar shows up later and I have to say, 'I've already given today.'

I do this before getting to the métro because it gives me a chance for a bit of chit-chat. It is nearly impossible to hear anything underground in the métro when it is moving, except beggars, who shout. The métro should hire them to shout the special messages about métro doings because they come through more clearly than the RATP's broadcasting system.

This is charter member Kathleen Bouvier.

Kathleen Bouvier comes in and Jan Shaw shows her the leather bag she bought at the Carré du Temple leather-goods market. It is a nifty bag. Kathleen wants to know if they tried to sell her a coat too.

It's like, you go there and buy a glove, and as soon as you do they want you to buy another glove - perhaps for the other hand. With just a bag, you are naked without a coat. Jan says she didn't buy the coat but was tempted.

Her bag has pockets inside pockets, which have zippers inside zippers. Even the outside strap has a zipper in the middle, which could make it into two straps - enough for a couple of people. There is also some sort of fantastic lining but I don't see this.

The Shaws went to a Cordon Bleu show where they have students show the audience how to make leeks sweat. Either this, or the chef does it. Then a hole is dug in one and sauce Béarnaise is poured into it. This 'hole' has a name but nobody can think of what it might be.

In between, for a lighter touch, there are whisking demonstrations.

Dana says it was not leeks but an artichoke. I wonder if therephoto: jan, kathleen, Dana are still 'Artichoke Kings' in New York. I have never seen one, but I have heard the phrase and have always wondered if somebody wasn't pulling my leg.

From left to right: Jan, Kathleen and Dana, in our cozy club.

Dana says the chef showed them how to tell if steak is done correctly. The way the chef did it, he stuck one finger of one hand in the middle of a cooked steak and with the other hand pinched his nose. Dana pinches his nose.

If it felt like that he says, the steak was 'medium.' If it felt like a pinched chin, it was 'well done.' Dana pinches his chin. If it felt like a pinched cheek, then it was 'rare' or 'ultra rare;' I forget which. Dana pinches his cheek.

I think Dana should give Cordon Bleu courses.

As far as I know, in France it is illegal to have a steak 'well done.' French chefs refuse to pinch their noses, in other words. Dana just did it as a demonstration of what the chef did as a demonstration.

Oddly, in Germany a rarely-done steak is called 'Englisch.' If you want it really rare, you ask for 'sehr Englisch, bitte.' If you want it more rare than this, then you order 'tartare' in both French and German.

Since everyone is keeping mum on city names of the week, all I can offer you is 'fluffenutter,' which is American slang for a marshmallow gloop and peanut butter sandwich. If therephoto: cafe la corona was a French chef with us today, I do not think he would stick his finger in it or pinch anything except maybe some pepper.

My notes don't show much in the way of dialogue after this Cordon Bleu stuff. I think it is the fault of the new, thin 'official' pen. The old 'official' pen was the size of a good cigar and I was afraid it was going to fall out of my pocket and the club report would turn out penless..

The new pen is okay, for light writing. The old one was really good for putting exclamation marks on the page.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

Next Thursday, 9. December, is a perfectly ordinary Thursday, which comes the day after the Immaculée Conception, in France. The café La Corona meeting place will be as open as usual, so the time for your club's meeting still is from 15:00 to 17:00. I now have only 173 surplus photos left of La Corona, so next week I will bring 'Paris Turf' to read in case you don't show up on time or slightly before. The place is:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral Coligny
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre-Rivoli or Pont-Neuf

A bientôt à Paris,
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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